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Lawrence Carroll

Galerie Karsten Greve Paris Côte Rue

That What Comes
September 9 - October 28, 2017
Opening reception: Saturday, 9 September 2017, 6 to 8 pm
in presence of the artist
"Everything is a mystery, ourselves, and all things both simple and humble."
Giorgio Morandi
The Galerie Karsten Greve is delighted to announce That What Comes, an exhibition devoted to the work of Lawrence Carroll, represented by the gallery since 1999. His intimate, melancholic art turns the humblest of materials into powerful metaphors for the fragility of life and the urge to persist, inherent in human nature. In 2017, two European museums are hosting exhibitions dedicated to Carroll’s work: the Museo Vincenzo Vela in Lugano, Switzerland, currently on view, and the Kunstmuseum Kloster in Magdeburg, Germany, opening in November.
Lawrence Carroll shares an affinity with Giorgio Morandi in his constant quest for the poetic potential of everyday objects, with deep interests in their structure and physical presence in space, as well as in the subtleties of natural light. Carroll's recent creations will engage in a dialogue with the Italian master's exhibition Giorgio Morandi, opening concurrently on the courtyard side of our gallery. The twin exhibitions usher visitors into a meditative realm where the mind can settle and breathe to the measured rhythms of slowly silting time.
Lawrence Carroll's oeuvre makes use of humble materials, forgotten fragments, even dust. His paintings, which often morph into objects, bear witness to time leaving its mark on the canvas, constantly being reinvented as each brush stroke erases the precedent.  For Carroll, creativity lies within a lengthy process of concentration and contemplation.  He ultimately trusts in an intimate bond with his materials until the work, in effect, reveals itself.  His painting and life are inextricably bound, their connection extending beyond autobiographical terms such that the artwork stands as proof of pure existence.
In Lawrence Carroll's studio, debris is allowed to settle over time until the artist trusts his intuition, and the elements find their place. The works on display were produced in this way, in some cases, over the span of several years. While flowers were a recurrent theme in his earlier works, water - a metaphor for life - is the leitmotif of this new series.  One of the first apparitions of this natural element was in the piece I hear the ice melting, presented at Documenta 9 in 1992.  Since then, water has often been an inspiration for Carroll to the point of being physically integrated into the artwork.  Freezing Painting, for example, a painting veiled under a thick layer of melting ice, debuted in 2005; in 2013, an astonishing piece from this series was presented at the Vatican Pavilion during the 53rd Venice Biennale. Like a river that cannot halt its own flow, life is a continuous trajectory, unable to be restrained for even a single moment. Perpetual movement, which makes water such an eminently unstable element, prevents the viewer's gaze from alighting on it. Carroll’s challenge is to grasp its essence. He studied masters such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and above all, Piet Mondrian, whose early drawings informed his understanding of its graphic nature.  Exploring further into history, the delicate and descriptive nature of early Chinese landscape drawings reverberated with Carroll’s sensibilities.
Lawrence Carroll spent over a decade drawing water with his eyes closed. This practice taught him to observe its movements with his inner eye, so that his drawings are not the fruit of his gaze but rather the reflection of a memoryscape. The Black Mirror Paintings are a result of this method of abstraction, where all that remains are the bare bones of gesture, line, and colour.  Black paint is scratched with a scalpel to form vague yet irrevocable marks. The movement of water is translated by the artist to represent life, where everything is fragile and subject to transformation.  The frame, too, is broken, no longer defining the limits of the work. It is an offspring of a process which is, as so often is the case in Carroll's work, a creative force. Like living beings, the works bear the scars of their own survival.
An hivernal and foggy atmosphere pervades his canvases, hovering between sky and powder blue, like an unpredictable mood over the ocean. In the White Oval Paintings, Carroll envisions the sky as a figure where rain becomes tears. These paintings, awash in a palette of nuanced whites, are crying. In the space contained by the untreated and slivered frame, swollen clouds ceaselessly weep in a waterfall frozen in time.
Lawrence Carroll's paintings discreetly await their audience in silence. This silence, however, is not mute: the seemingly unruffled calm of the surface belies the vast energy which lies beneath.
Lawrence Carroll was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1954 and grew up in California. His first solo exhibition was in New York in 1988. The following year Carroll was one of the young American artists invited by Harald Szeemann to take part in the exhibition Einleuchten at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany. In 1992 Carroll showed his work at Documenta IX, where he was also invited for the fiftieth anniversary in 2005. His work has also been shown in major contemporary art museums and acquired by prestigious international collections, both public and private, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York and MOCA in Los Angeles, the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto in Italy, the Stuttgart City Gallery in Germany, and the Museo Cantonale d’Arte in Lugano, Switzerland. His work has also recently been acquired by the Vatican Museums and the Ca’ Pesaro in Venice. Lawrence Carroll lives and works in Bolsena, Italy.

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